Directed and written by Scott Frank along with Alan Scott, Queen’s gambit is a gem of the coming-of-age genre. Based on a chess opening name Queen’s gambit, this TV series depicts Beth Harmon played by Anna Taylor Joy, and her way to be a chess player. The story revolves around Beth and her fight against addiction in order to become the greatest chess player in the world.
The story starts with an unfortunate beginning, where circumstances forced Beth to end up in an orphanage. With difficulties to cope up with this new environment, Beth discovers the Janitor of the orphanage, Mr. Shaibel playing a unique board game. Attracted by this alien thing, Beth requests Mr.Shaibel to teach her, but he simply refuses at first. But within a few days, Mr. Shaibel miraculously takes interest in teaching her.
Within a few episodes, we as a viewer can clearly observe the potential Beth has and can consider her to be a chess prodigy. Mr. Shaibel contacts the local chess club to make them aware of Beth’s potential. A major mistake by Beth offends the headmistress to her extreme and she decides to not let Beth play chess again. Beth continues to practice in her head, strengthening her imagination powers. Until one day, when Beth is adopted.
Beth’s life seems to be an endless struggle between what is true and what needs to be done. Soon, Beth starts to get recognition after winning tournaments. She keeps on improving her playing style. This series accurately displays the male dominance in chess and in sports in totality. Beth does make some friends along her way, who help her immensely.
With fame comes money, and with money comes misery. Beth continues to keep struggling though she was a renowned chess player by now, majorly due to her addiction. This TV series also consists of several Easter eggs; games and positions resembling famous games by genius players. The series also depicts the domination by the Russian’s in the world of chess.
Beth’s hardships though seem never-ending, at the end of the series, Beth makes peace with herself and accepts her the way she is. This series opens up the acceptance of chess, not only for the chess community but also for the non-chess players, and encourages us to take up the sport. The real-life passion, enthusiasm, and zeal which are even close to madness for chess, are accurately produced in this series. Whether you know chess or not, Queen’s gambit is a must-watch.